Act 463 of 2019: Halloween Restrictions for Sex Offenders — What You Need to Know
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many — especially for kids who eagerly anticipate dressing up as their favorite characters and going trick-or-treating. But ensuring the safety of children during this spooky season is a top priority, and laws play a significant role. In 2019, Act 463 (or Senate Bill 10 of Arkansas) introduced Halloween restrictions for registered sex offenders, with the goal of creating a safer environment for everyone. Whether you’re a concerned parent or have been convicted as a sex offender int he past, here’s what you need to know.
What Is A Sex Offender?
Before delving into Act 463 of 2019, it’s important to first understand what constitutes a sex offender. In the state of Arkansas, a sex offender is an individual who has been convicted of a sexual offense.
- People convicted of certain sexual crimes or crimes against children
- People who were in prison, on probation, parole, or other forms of supervision for these crimes when this law came into effect
- People found not guilty due to mental illness for these crimes
- People who had to register under another sex offender law called the Habitual Child Sex Offender Registration Act or § 12-12-901
If a registered sex offender moves to or comes back to Arkansas from another place, they must tell the local police within 3 business days of settling down here. This helps authorities keep track of their whereabouts.
As you can see, these offenses range from sexual assault and child molestation to various forms of sexual misconduct.
If you want to know who’s in your neighborhood, the Arkansas Crime Information Center maintains a database of registered sex offenders, providing the public with access to information on their whereabouts and offenses.
What Does Act 463 of 2019 Say?
Act 463 was passed in 2019 by the Arkansas legislature to address a specific concern: the participation of registered sex offenders in Halloween-related activities. This system is in place to enhance public safety, particularly for children and vulnerable populations.
The act registered sex offenders assessed as Level 3 (High Risk) or Level 4 (Sexually Violent Predator) from participating in certain Halloween-related activities.
What Is a “Halloween-Related Activity”?
Halloween-related activities as events involving children that are organized around and concerning the celebration of Halloween, which occurs during the two weeks before and after October 31. This includes trick-or-treating, costume parties, and events involving the wearing of costumes or handing out candy to children.
Registered sex offenders can’t give candy or wear costumes around kids during Halloween events under this law.
But there are exceptions: Parents or guardians of kids getting candy or at an event with a sex offender in a costume are okay. The law focuses on keeping children safe while allowing for special situations.
Penalties & Defenses
Breaking Act 463 is a serious offense, treated as a Class D felony, which means it leads to legal punishment. But there are exceptions where you won’t get in trouble, like wearing a work-related costume during business hours or selling Halloween merchandise for your job.
Stay Safe and Compliant This Halloween
Act 463 of 2019 is a vital law focused on safeguarding children during Halloween. It sets rules for registered sex offenders, so they can’t join certain Halloween events — ultimately loweirng risk and potentially making events safer for children.
Arkansas wants Halloween to be fun and secure for everyone, and this law helps make that happen.
But if you have any quesitons or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to Hickey & Hull Law Partners. Chat, fill out our online form, or contact us today for a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.